23 Feb 2018

Corruption expert: Hungary resembles a mafia state

The corruption network established in Hungary resembles those seen in Africa and Latin-America, according to a Hungarian-born professor at the San Diego State University.

Ivett Körösi
Ivett Körösi Nepszava, Hungary
Source: Nepszava
Corruption expert: Hungary resembles a mafia state
 - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

In a mafia family, the godfather sits on top of the pyramid, directing family members and hand-chosen captains and lieutenants how to operate his criminal enterprise.

It's also the model upon which corrupt states are built, including in Hungary, where the latest scandal involves the son-in-law of the Prime Minister.

A professor who specializes in corruption came to this conclusion about Hungary:

“Organized corruption has been present since the transition to democracy. Oligarchs, politicians ‘highjacked’ local governments … but these individuals had no absolute immunity. A scandal, an article or an inspection could be fatal for them. Things have changed since 2010: nowadays' politicians are untouchable."

Independent media and investigative journalists have uncovered several cases of corruption. But they have been discredited by the accused as well as by state media. Follow-up investigations rarely happen, and many cases have been swept under the carpet as a result.

That is why the analysis of acclaimed experts, and the intervention of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is so crucial. They back up the findings of journalists, lending more credibility to testimonies that risk being completely discredited by right-wing efforts.

media, politics, illiberalism

Details from the story:

  • David Jancsics, a professor at the San Diego State University who specializes in corruption, says Hungarian politicians and businessmen are caught only if the “political family” expels them.
  • Systemic corruption in Hungary is difficult to grasp, he says, since actors complicate state-sponsored thefts through complicated contracts and organizational and ownership structures.
  • According to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of Transparency International, Hungary is among the most corrupt European states.
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